Sharing your holidays – top tips for social media posts when travelling
We all know social media is where we share the highlights of our lives. We don’t document the grey days and mundane activities that make up the majority of the day-to-day, we post the best bits, the things that make us smile, that inspire us, and that we can look back on when things are grey. However there’s a delicate balance between inspiring people and sharing your special moments, places and experiences, and plain old bragging in an effort to impress others, make people jealous, or to try and assert an image or ‘status’.
It really boils down to the kind of person you are, and what your reasons for travelling are. Your attitude towards travel really comes through in the updates that you share online – from the language you choose in the descriptions, to the type of image itself. It’s this tone of voice and attitude that generally turns people on or off.
I can only talk from my own experience, and I can honestly say that I feel like every trip is a gift, and I genuinely feel incredibly grateful to be able to see new places, and to be in a position where I can share these with others, some of whom may not have the opportunity – and I would hope that this comes through in my posts. My aim is to share knowledge, recommendation, advice and experiences with my community, and hopefully to be engaging, inclusive and inspiring.
In my opinion, those who are genuinely humble about their travel experiences (and their outlook to life generally) will naturally and automatically recount their experiences in terms of the emotions these invoke (feelings of gratitude, happiness and awe for example). When you start taking these things for granted, and your tone of voice becomes cocky and self important, then you alienate people. You distance your community from the experience, rather than sharing and involving them, and the tone becomes arrogant and irritating. We’ve all seen posts such as “this is the only way to travel” “we wouldn’t do this any other way” “another bottle of free champagne, why not?” with the business class ticket stubs, and had the same thoughts! With these type of posts, you are talking less about the place, people or experience, and using your updates as more of a status checklist of where you’ve been and what you’ve done, which becomes much less engaging, inclusive or inspiring.
A lot of this is reflected in the actual images you choose to post, and again your motivation for posting. What’s more important, sharing how great something is and how much you enjoyed it, or telling people what you’ve got and how much you’ve got?
It’s not that certain types of image are wrong and you can’t share pictures of yourself being pampered or having a good time, it’s understandable that you want to share these, but think about your network and the effect you have on others before you post. Is it genuinely a beautiful picture? Does it tell your story for friends and family, or share information/advice? Will your community/network honestly be interested? Or are you just flaunting and bragging about what you are doing?
When actually taking the pictures, think about composition – is it natural or is it contrived? I had a great example of this when I co-organised a hen weekend in Goa, on one night we had a bottle of champagne whilst swinging in hammocks on a beautiful abandoned beach at sunset. All of these elements could combine to create the ultimate trophy travel picture, but we didn’t disappear and brush our hair, put some make up on, and take a million selfies with different filters until we found one where everything was perfect. The picture we did end up taking has a couple of girls looking bedraggled from having just been in the sea, you can see the champagne flutes in the background of the picture but it’s not the first thing that catches your eye because that’s not where we were focussed – the focus is on the hammock and the obvious fun and laughter from our body language – and we actually didn’t even capture the sunset in the background – we weren’t there to get the perfect photo, we were there to have fun and this was our priority, the photos were a secondary thought. That shot was so much more engaging for our family and friends than a framed picture of four perfectly made up girls pouting and posing, holding a bottle of champagne in front of a picture perfect sunset – it’s real and authentic – and what the essence of social media should be.
I’ll reiterate how I started this post though – it is all about balance. If you post the occasional trophy travel picture (let’s face it, we’re all human and there are times that you have a picture that you know will probably make people jealous, but that you just can’t resist sharing), then your network will accept it (just don’t be surprised if they mock you for it!) However, if you regularly use your social networks as a platform to boast and assert your status, then your network is going to be very quickly limited to those individuals who also use travel as a trophy and want to compete with you.